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Developing a healthy appetite

Did you know letting babies feed themselves can help set them on the right path to healthy eating for the future? Sydney Local Health District's Childhood Dietician Kalliope Polyronis explains why it's worth the mess!

"Encouraging babies to feed themselves is better than spoon feeding, because it helps them recognise fullness" says Ms Polyronis.

Feeding bub yourself with a spoon can be an attractive option as it is a lot tidier. But this can prevent babies from learning the signs of fullness and can lead to them over eating as they grow.

Ms Polyronis says bubs will feed themselves to fullness – if given the opportunity.

So how long should you allow for baby to feed themselves? "Often by about 20 minutes, they've had enough, but it could take some babies up to 40 minutes."

She says if a self-feeding baby doesn't eat enough, that's okay because the next meal time will come around soon enough and bub will make up for it.

Allowing babies to feed themselves doesn't mean leaving them alone in the highchair – it's important babies are supervised at all times while learning to eat.


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Page Last Updated: 14 February, 2018